The Unsung – Round 4: Lachie Jones and Lachlan Sholl

 

Round 4 ended with some magnificent results, surprising results, and some fantastic play from some young kids. Round 4 provided more great insight into who the good teams are, the middle of the pack teams and the rebuilding teams. In this column, I am excited to introduce to you Lachie Jones and Lachlan Sholl.

 

Lachie Jones (Port Adelaide)

 

Interest in Lachie Jones increased exponentially when he walked out for his debut against Richmond. It was his nineteenth birthday. Sporting a Gary Ayres mullet, Jones, when lined up next to Dustin Martin, did not look physically disadvantaged. Recruited from Woodville-West Torrens and involved with Port Adelaide’s Next Generation academy in South Australia, Jones had a fine season in the SANFL, winning the premiership and winning SANFL Mark of the Year, further increasing his hype within South Australia. Taken with the 16th pick in the 2020 draft, Jones backed up the hype with a strong performance.

 

Jones is a solid (90kg!) medium-sized defender who can play the lockdown role whilst being able to rebound the ball off the half-back line with a penetrating kick. He showed composure throughout the game, going against the back-to-back premiers in Richmond and not looking intimated by the moment. Jones backed this up with a strong one-on-one win in the game’s final stages, further showing his capacity to remain calm under pressure; every coach wishes all players had that ability.

 

Jones plays to his natural instincts well to make the first option either by hand or foot and not overthink situations, which is typical for young players. Jones gathered 17 disposals showing an uncontested and contested game with seven contested and ten uncontested. Jones did fatigue, but that is common for a young man playing at the AFL level. With more game time, the better his conditioning will be. Jones could get midfield time down the track as the conditioning improves with his strong body around the ball. With Port Adelaide being one of the premiership contenders in this 2021 season, being able to blood new talent like Jones mixed with solid players and learning the game the right way, Jones has a big future.

 

Lachlan Sholl (Adelaide)

 

Apart from the Sydney Swans, the team that has exceeded the public’s expectations is the Adelaide Crows, with Lachlan Sholl being an essential part of that success. Sholl, from St Bernard’s College in Essendon, playing via Calder Cannons in Victoria and son of former Carlton’s player Brett Sholl and nephew of premiership North Melbourne player Craig Sholl, shows that playing AFL runs in the family.

 

Picked with the 64th pick in the 2018 National draft, Sholl is an elite ball winner who has a silky left foot on the outside, showing the ability to be able to be a link between the midfield and the forward line. Sholl has elite endurance, which enhances his outside game and other off-ball duties, working very hard to put pressure and work back to help his defenders. The numbers back the elite play, gathering 31 disposals going at 81% efficiency with most possessions being on the outside; Sholl’s strong performance against North Melbourne got him the Round 4 rising star award.

 

Sholl is a part of a unique club, including just 12 players in the award’s history, receiving two rising star nominations. Adelaide’s momentum has carried them from the back half of 2020 leading into this year; this Adelaide team is far more competitive and dangerous, with Sholl leading the new generation of conspicuous Adelaide talent to get the club back on track after a horrendous 2020.

 

I also want to shout out some other unsung players, including Jake Riccardi from the GWS Giants, who made his debut for the 2021 season against Collingwood. With Jeremy Cameron moving on to Geelong, Riccardi, who has a great overhead mark and set shot, has the chance to establish himself as another option next to Harry Himmelberg and help rebuild the Giants. A final shoutout also to Lachlan McNeill, the eleventh pick in the 2020 rookie draft, who has not missed a game yet in 2021 for the “inform” Western Bulldogs. He shows good forward instincts and skill with maintaining his work off the ball to chase and pressure the opposition; therefore, why McNeill can retain his spot each week.

 

With Round 5 on the horizon and the landscape throughout the AFL taking shape, there is no doubt we will still see many surprising performances and battles. We can expect to see the promise of the next group of talent coming through the League, with names like Jones and Sholl impressing; the sky is the limit for the young talent.

 

 

 

To read more of The Unsung by Chris Mangos click HERE

 

 

The Tigers (Covid) Almanac 2020 will be published in 2021. It will have all the usual features – a game by game account of the Tigers season – and will also include some of the best Almanac writing from the Covid winter.  Pre-order HERE

 

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Comments

  1. John Butler says

    Seeing as Lachlan’s father Peter played for the Blues, I do feel like we let one slip here. He was very damaging against us in the final round last year.

    Cheers

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